It is easy to say, if he had just used common sense he wouldn’t have lost his Common Access Card (CAC). She should have had the common sense not to leave her thumb drive in the coffee shop. What is common sense? It’s the knowledge and experience we start to develop as soon as we are born. For example, the pot on the stove is hot: don’t touch it; the ice is slippery: walk carefully; the information is sensitive: encrypt and protect it, etc.
Culture is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterizes an organization. Today, I hear leaders complaining that their biggest organizational problems boil down to issues involving that one word. If culture is indeed the problem, it should be addressed and not continually ignored or tolerated.
Web 2.0. Web 3.0. Webinars. Podcasts. Blogs. RSS feeds. Virtual environments. Social networking. This is the language of today’s Internet. It has not been the language of AFCEA, but that is changing. Our younger members are very comfortable in this environment. The rest of us in government and industry are trying to catch up and learn how to apply these technologies and this culture to our work. AFCEA is moving to help.
The Global War on Terrorism is pushing the visibility and value of spectrum to the forefront. Problems encountered during current operations illustrate how devices that find their way onto the battlefield without thorough spectrum requirement vetting are costing lives. Whether the challenge is systems that interfere with each other or equipment that has not been tested in the electromagnetic environment in which it will be used, the consequence could be mission failure instead of success, death instead of life. Military leaders are committed now more than ever to not only keeping spectrum management in the limelight but also continually checking on its progress.
Poland is making military satellite communications a priority for its force modernization. As the former Warsaw Pact member embraces NATO-style network centricity, it is turning its eyes skyward to enable newly mobile forces to interact with headquarters and each other in distant theaters of operation.
Information overload can stop troops in their tracks. Ongoing investigations are examining how to determine when a soldier has received too much data as well as how technology can lessen the cognitive burden of service members so they can react properly in dangerous situations. Discoveries are yielding better practices for military decision makers and medical personnel, and they have applications in fields that are a far cry from researchers’ original ideas.
Exuberance tempered with caution describes the U.S. military’s current outlook about deploying Web 2.0 technologies. The services’ information technology leaders as well as the U.S. Defense Department recognize the multitude of benefits the capabilities offer warfighters from the tactical through the strategic levels. However, concern about the security risks in what could be termed the Wild West of the World Wide Web is currently hampering the services’ ability to take full advantage of promising properties in the Web 2.0 landscape.
A lightweight battlefield robot may soon provide Israeli army units with extra eyes, ears and firepower. Intended to support forces at the company and platoon levels, the robot can be carried into action by one soldier and configured in the field for a variety of missions.
Researchers are conducting cutting-edge investigations in the area of unmanned systems. The efforts aim to change how humans operate the vehicles by reducing the number of personnel hours and dedicated resources necessary to execute the systems. The projects also could both improve how systems interact with one another and increase their autonomy.
As the demand for robotics expands in both the commercial and public sectors, developers at a university institute are working to move relevant technology into the marketplace rapidly. Engineers are creating smarter systems that are more autonomous and that have applications ranging from agriculture to combat. Current programs are spawning new ideas, and program officials are seeking to demonstrate technology to funding authorities quickly to determine the best path forward early in the development cycle.
Unmanned ground systems have become a vital tool for warfighters operating in Southwest Asia. Initially deploying a handful of machines, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps now deploy thousands of robots into the theater. Ranging from tiny scouts designed to be thrown into windows to remote control mine clearance vehicles, these platforms have saved many lives by replacing soldiers in dangerous jobs, including ordnance disposal and reconnaissance.
The U.S. Defense Department is developing an information sharing implementation plan based heavily on current need and impending reality. One foundational element of the department’s approach is that everyone agrees on the need to share information, but differences lie in how that goal is to be accomplished. The other factor is that new technologies and capabilities are changing the very nature of information access, and users ignore them at their own risk.
The dream of zapping incoming missiles traveling at supersonic speeds into nonexistence is becoming closer to reality as laser science transitions from the laboratory to the field. Research into several different laser technologies is bearing fruit, and soon warfighters and civilians may be protected from threats as simple as mortar rounds or as complex as nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles.
A key Pacific ally of the United States has become the first foreign nation to field a sea-based ballistic missile interception system. The technology is a modification of the Aegis air defense weapons system designed to track and destroy short- and intermediate-range missiles. This capability permits Japanese warships to defend their island nation from attack by neighboring states.
Antimissile capabilities have advanced far beyond the brute-force systems of the 1960s or the science-fictionesque concepts of the 1980s. Decades of research are paying off as effective systems are moving into the field. Once-exotic technologies are poised to change the balance of power between rogue nations exploiting ballistic missile proliferation and the democracies they threaten with missile attack.